It's as sensational as the story line of a TV crime show. And the characters--at least as they appear on TV--are every bit as colorful.
But unfortunately, it's real life.
A night club dancer turned "adoption professional" and her business partner "hang out their shingle" as Waiting Angels Adoption Services, Inc. and begin facilitating adoptions from (well, where else, but) Guatemala.
According to a local TV station: "Desperate would-be parents." Some of whom, profiled by the TV station, longed for a baby after lengthy struggles with infertility. Parents who were so eager to have a baby in arms that they took out second mortgages on their homes, forked over their life savings, signed contracts with, and then placed their hopes in the hands of these same Waiting Angels "adoption professionals."
Lest you think these parents didn't do their "homework" in checking out Waiting Angels Adoption Services before signing on, think again. Prospective adoptive parents (PAP's) recently testified in criminal court that they had asked Waiting Angels for (and received from the same) client references--the email addresses of satisfied former Waiting Angels' clients.
How were these PAP's to know that the email addresses of these "satisfied clients" were apparently (according to allegations in criminal court) owned by one of the adoption agency principals, Joe Beauvais? And that the replies they received--glowing recommendations for Waiting Angels--were allegedly, according to evidence presented recently in criminal court, simply Joe, pretending to be several former clients?
As if that isn't enough to turn your stomach, an undercover investigation by a local TV station using a hidden camera, reveals a peek, in sordid detail, into the alleged way in which at least some "adoption professionals" procure Guatemalan children who are then offered for adoption here in the U.S. The descriptions come from the couple's own lips, captured on tape for all the world to see. It's not pretty. Like seeing the proverbial way sausage or laws are made. Not for the faint of heart or those who want to preserve their adoption-is-an-absolute-good belief system.
Despite this procurement system and for reasons, at this point, known only by agency principals, Boraggina and Beauvais, Waiting Angels apparently failed to deliver babies to many waiting PAP's. PAP's allege they were given many technical reasons for the failure of their children to "come home" and that, as a result of their complaints, more promises were made and, for whatever reasons, those promises too were allegedly broken.
The trail of adoptive parents with broken dreams, empty savings accounts, and second mortgages for which they had nothing to show but payment books and empty nurseries, allegedly grew.
Refunds of adoption fees, like the promised babies, allegedly also failed to materialize.
In publicly available legal documents, prospective adoptive parents allege a pattern of increasing unresponsiveness by Waiting Angels to their requests and questions.
Eventually, in 2005, a class action law suit was filed against Waiting Angels by several families.
But, as we all know, the wheels of the justice system turn slowly.
Meanwhile, the children that eager families had hoped would be their own, continued to grow and and develop. Babies outgrew layettes they never wore. Tiny babies promised to adoptive families, babies with whom some heart-sick PAP's had previously bonded on trips to Guatemala and with whom others had bonded through photos and video updates, grew into toddlers without ever seeing the dream nurseries their would-be parents had lovingly and lavishly outfitted months, and now years, earlier.
Monthly payments on second mortgages served--and continue to serve even now--as painful reminders of what does not lie behind closed nursery doors where dust gathers on dead dreams.
A local TV station's investigative team had earlier taken up the cause of the weary, teary-eyed, and empty-armed PAP's. In a series of investigative reports, it explored and then made public the case against the agency and its principals.
Evidence mounted and finally, in the face of sympathetic public outrage, law enforcement moved in with search warrants against Waiting Angels Adoption Services, Inc. and its principals, Simone Boraggina and Joe Beauvais.
The local TV station covered the raid of the two homes from which Waiting Angels and its principals ran their adoption agency. Footage shows policemen carrying out computer hard drives and crates of paper files--to be gone through and kept as evidence.
But no one was prepared for what turned up in one of the houses.
In one of the two homes of the "adoption professionals," police were astonished to find A HALF A MILLION DOLLARS IN CASH. Indisputably, there it is, caught on camera--$500,000 in cash in neat stacks of bills stored in multiple, neatly sealed zip-lock baggies.
Where did this money come from? Why was it there?
Had Simone and Joe ever sent the money given them to Guatemala to procure the children they had promised the couples? If they had, what was this money?
More generally, why would anyone--and specifically why would Simone and Joe--keep this huge amount of cash in a private residence instead of putting it into a bank?
Only Simone and Joe know where the money came from and why it was there. Only they know what they did or didn't do to procure the children they had promised adoptive parents.
Shortly thereafter, Simone Boraggina and Joe Beauvais--the principals of Waiting Angels Adoption Services, Inc.--turned themselves in and were arrested as local TV cameras rolled and astonished TV investigators looked on.
News Video That Introduces Allegations Against Waiting Angels:
Rescue 4 Undercover: Shocking Details About Adoption, Channel 4 Detroit,
News Video Announcing Arrest of Waiting Angels Principals:
Rescue 4 Undercover: Arrests Made in Adoption Case, Channel 4 Detroit, arrest and search
New Video Showing Confrontation with One of Waiting Angels Principals:
Rescue 4 Undercover: Karen's Confrontation, Channel 4 Detroit, short confrontation
News Video Detailing Waiting Angels' Alleged Modus Operandi:
Rescue 4 Undercover: The Desperation Behind Selling a Baby, Channel 4
News Video (which is mostly audio) in whichAttorney General Mike Cox Alleges What Joe & Simone were doing and what he intends to do as Attorney General in Response:
Adoption Scam, 9 & 10 News.com, 4 May, 2007
Most Recent News Video Showing First Day of Trial:
Rescue 4 Undercover: Waiting Angels Adoption Scam, Channel 4 Detroit, 13 Sept 2007
Law Firm Summary of Earlier 2006 Class Action Law Suit against Waiting Angels: The Quisenberry Law Firm Newswire, Michigan, "Class Action Says Adoption Agency Just Keeps Demanding More Money," 23 October 2006
IBL, Class Action Reporter, Headlines List, alphabetical under W for Waiting Angels (scroll down for a detailed summary), 27 Oct 2007
PDF of Class Action Law Suit Filed Against Waiting Angels with US Court:
Class Action Lawsuit: Heinrich et al v. Waiting Angels Adoption Services, Inc. et al. (Case No. 5:06-cv-00168-RHBter), October 2006 by Fixel Law Offices of East Lansing Michigan in U.S. Federal District Court
PDF of 2007 Lawsuit Filed Against Waiting Angels with US District Court:
Heinrich et al v. Waiting Angels Adoption Services, Inc., filed 27 March 2007 in US Federal District Court in the Western District of Michigan
Legal Counsel's Summary and Update Page for Waiting Angels Lawsuit: Waiting Angels FAQ: Waiting Angels Litigation, Fixel Law Offices, last updated 12 September 2007
And the Adoption Agency's own website, still up and running and advertising adoption services:
Waiting Angels Adoption Agency Website